Swimmers adapt practices, place overall third at districts

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AHS Plantation had their last seasonal swim meet against Somerset Academy Oct. 13. (Photo/Eva Pierre-Antoine)

Due to Covid-19, sports practice schedules are changing to accommodate the safety of students and faculty. The usual summer practices for club and varsity were from 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Heritage pool. Now, students can choose practice times from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7p.m.

During practices, students are required to start on opposite ends of the lane and swim in opposite directions. Sometimes a student starts in the middle of the lane, while another student swims in the same direction starting from the wall.

Swim coach Nobutaka Tan implemented lane staggering in order to maintain a safe distance between the students. Right after students get out of the pool, they must put their masks on. Coaches provide the students with ziploc bags to make sure the masks don’t get wet. The two parts to the swim team include the varsity team and the club.

The club practices year round, while the varsity team practices for only the season. Both participate in varsity swim meets. Four swim meets have taken place this month, one trial amongst themselves, a meet against AHS Boca/Delray, the last seasonal meet against Somerset Academy and District meets. Usually, the swim team competes in six to 10 meets. A trial is similar to a swim meet, but it’s meant to figure out each person’s swimming times, before they have to compete. 

“Covid has had more of a negative impact on the swimming community than a positive one, since many swimmers, including myself, have gone months without swimming, have practiced for shorter times, haven’t competed in a meet in eight months and haven’t been able to congregate and socialize with their entire team,” sophomore club swimmer Amari Porter said.

Several high school teams have dropped out from their divisions, so it’s hard to plan district and regional meets. With social distancing measures in place, students can’t interact with their teammates like they once did. 

“Usually, we’re always super close together and have a lot of fun at meets hanging out,” junior varsity swimmer Shana Xia said. “Now there’s less people and we’re less rowdy at meets, but we’re adjusting well and still having fun being in each other’s presence.”

“Our swimmers are doing well by following the team rules and doing their best to keep everyone safe,” swim coach Tan said. “We hope to take as many swimmers as we can to the state meet Nov. 14 at Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart.”

Swimmers had Districts Oct. 28, hosted by AHS Plantation, where they placed third overall. Senior Olivia Mason, senior Felicia Taylor, junior Eva-Pierre Antoine and sophomore Amari Porter won District champions for Girls 400 Freestyle Relay and senior Daniel Watson for the 200 Individual Medley.

“This year’s Districts were definitely different from years previous but the ambiance was still there. It’s the first step to states. Yes I’m satisfied with [winning the 200 Individual Medley] and I celebrated a little bit, however the jobs [are] not finished. Now I need to focus up and get ready for regionals Nov. 5,” Daniel Watson said. 

Under the circumstances, practices are shorter and meets are more scarce, but some swimmers are trying to make the best of the situation and enjoy their season.

Nithisha, a sophomore at American Heritage, is starting her first year on newspaper staff. Besides writing and reading, Nithisha enjoys many artistic hobbies, like painting, sewing and crocheting. She spends most of her time either studying, pursuing one of her hobbies or watching "Gilmore Girls." A total book nerd, she tries to read as often and as many books as possible.

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